This review has been brought about by the 3DS Virtual Console.
It has been around sixteen years since the Pokemon Trading Card game became a videogame on the Gameboy Colour, that is a very long time, one of the big standouts of the original game was how it took the classic card game invented from the popularity of the main series Pokemon games and turned it into a videogame. Easy enough to say a videogame was definitely the preferred method to play the game as collecting the actual cards was expensive and never provided us with proper cards we could use to play with. The videogame however provided us with all the cards made for the original set of 151 Pokemon and all the cards needed to use them. The question now is with Videogames evolving does the original Pokemon Trading Card Game still stand as good as it was back in the day with its release on the 3DS Virtual Console.
The answer to the question is both yes and no. The Pokemon Trading Card Game holds great memories for myself and it is a matter of seeing past my fantastic memories and seeing the game for what it is, and what is it? To put it simply the game is a beginning to an entire history it acts as a starting point as to where the entire Pokemon franchise began and shows the original Pokemon and nothing else, of course this doesn’t actually hurt the game as when we look at the more modern card game it is all still the same basic game with barely any evolution from its original form. This means that for those who never would have played the original game, or just haven’t played the actual videogame for a while but have accessed the card game can easily get into this, and it does still remain reasonably enjoyable fun all these years later.
The goal of the game is a simple one, this world doesn’t involve actual Pokemon, instead many of the worlds characters are actually big dueling fans playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and each has the goal of collecting the best cards in the entire game by winning all of the master medals. A simple enough premise which drives you through the game’s story as you attempt to beat the best players of the game.
Doing this is not a simple task as playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game is actually quite a deep and complex challenge. The card game has never been as simple in a sense as Yu-Gi-Oh and has not always been easy to master. So in order to succeed it becomes about mastering the basic strategy of the game, learning weaknesses and ensuring the deck you use has all the cards that you need to help you succeed. When the game begins you are given a deck to use that specializes based on the three starter Pokemon of Red and Blue but in order to succeed in the game you are quickly tasked with making improvements to the deck and in the long term building up your own. In order to do this is the challenge though as you need to use the original deck given to win duels to earn better cards to build your deck.
There is a big variety in options in cards to use, and ensuring you have a proper balance is part of the challenge, in order to use attacks each Pokemon requires specific energy cards. Ensuring you have the energy cards that best complement your Pokemon is part of the challenge and ensuring you have the right balance of energy, Pokemon and Trainer cards becomes one of the constant struggles. My first deck I created was called Water Power and relied on Water Pokemon exclusively, this left me with a single weakness, but also provided a balance that I could work with and it complemented me better than my original deck.
Duels take place like the traditional real life card game and revolve around turn by turn games, and in the end being able to outplay opponents and hope that luck is on your side is a major part of the game and with each duel comes a good amount of enjoyment.
One of the negative sides of the virtual console release is that you cannot play with friends who also own the game, with the gameboy link cable gone, and Nintendo not organizing any connectivity with the re-release it is left as very much of a lonely experience, and likewise the virtual console adds nothing to the game as a whole. The benefit remains though that while the game is not modern and is really lacking a lot of content from the last sixteen years the game still remains enjoyable even with only AI opponents and the original cards.
I was quick to work out that I have gone rusty with this game and I did forget just how challenging the game can be, it is no walk in the park but as long as you have patience and a good mind the classic game still has a lot to offer to newcomers. The positive thing is while it is old and it can clearly be seen the Pokemon Trading Card Game is still fun and is a great use of a couple of hours, not to mention I am glad that Nintendo chose to bring this game to my 3DS and bring me an old favorite, it doesn’t bother me that a small portion of the game is missing because it reminds me of what I loved. I think now that Nintendo needs to bring back a new Pokemon Trading Card Game for Nintendo platforms to the world and they could really use all the new Pokemon as long as it remains as enjoyable as this classic is.